Justice pour Jean Dominique et Jean Claude Louissaint! Press release from the Foundation to Echo the Voice of Jean Dominique
Port-au-Prince, February, 2002
We thank you again for your active solidarity with the Haitian people in their quest for justice and true democracy. This quest is presently being channelled through the fight to bring to justice the assassins of Jean Dominique and Jean-Claude Louissaint.
Thanks in a large part to your support, this case has not been buried despite the hostility of the Haitian authorities, hell-bent on protecting the killers and their powerful sponsors. After having openly tried to intimidate the judge in charge of the case, the Lavalas Family Senate has for six months been sitting on the judge’s request to lift the immunity of strongman Dany Toussaint, principal suspect in the assassination.
Contrary his own numerous and solemn pledges to do all in his power to deliver justice for Jean Dominique and Jean-Claude Louissaint and thus signal the end of impunity, President Aristide has clearly closed ranks with the most reactionary wing of his Lavalas Family party. By not renewing the mandate of judge Gassant, President Aristide has in effect sent the signal that he condones Senator Dany Toussaint’s hostility towards the judge, who has been deprived of his security and, in the face of mounting threats against his life, been forced into exile.
The recent events of December 16 and 17 have revealed both the vulnerability of the head of state to an armed challenge, and the propensity to violence on the part of the illegally-armed groups controlled in great part by Toussaint. Though the authors of these events have yet to be identified, the thugish faction of the Lavalas Family has clearly been the principal beneficiary of the days of violence. As a result they show a renewed arrogance, manifested for example in the physical attack against the Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, Robert Ménard, and the public death threats against Guy Delva, head of the Haitian Journalists’ Association.
As we keep on the pressure for justice, we sense a clear and present danger of an offensive by the thugish wing of the Lavalas Family against all individuals and organisations involved in the campaign against impunity; Mrs Michèle Montas, Radio Haïti, and Fondation Eko Vwa Jean Dominique are the most likely targets of such an attack, as they are being pointed out as the forces that are most destabilising for the regime.
In this climate of intolerance, fueled by the indifference of the authorities and the President himself, we depend more than ever on your support and solidarity. Increased pressure by our international friends must be brought to bear on the regime, singling out President Aristide and his decision regarding Judge Gassant, and alerting authorities in your own countries as well as public opinion about the dangers faced by those pursuing justice for Jean Dominique. More precisely, we are convinced that clear and concrete pledges by President Aristide to immediately stop the intimidation campaign by his own political party and organisations affiliated with it, and to effectively bring this case to justice, must be part of the conditions for a change in international cooperation with Haïti.
P.S. As we write this note, the Senate of Haïti, under pressure by armed bodyguards of Senator Toussaint and so-called popular organisations led by two fugitives from justice (René Civil and Paul Raymond), has on January 31st decided to postpone indefinitely the lifting of Toussaint’s immunity.
This last development, converging as it does with President Aristide’s own effective cancellation of Judge Gassant’s mandate, is the newest and most formidable obstacle to our common quest for justice, and confirms our analysis that the worst wing of the Lavalas Family is now dominant.
FONDATION EKO VWA JEAN DOMINIQUE